Justices Recuse Themselves In California Building Sale Case

SACRAMENTO (AP) — All seven members of the California Supreme Court on Tuesday recused themselves from hearing an appeal by the Schwarzenegger administration regarding the sale of state office buildings.

Acting Chief Justice Marvin Baxter directed that seven state appellate judges be assigned to review the governor’s petition after Supreme Court justices recused themselves. The high court is housed in the Earl Warren Building at the San Francisco Civic Center Complex, one of the state properties that would be sold.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this week made a last-minute plea to the state’s high court to allow the sale of 11 state properties as a way to raise $1.2 billion. The state had planned to sell the properties, which contain 24 separate buildings.

Schwarzenegger’s attorneys warned that unless the state can close escrow before the end of the year, “the sale may well disappear forever.”

An appeals court has stalled the sale to private investors while it reviews the deal. The plaintiffs maintain that it violates state law because the California Judicial Council must agree to any sale involving buildings that house courts. Their lawsuit also said the deal constitutes an unlawful gift of public funds.

Several independent analyses have found the sale will end up costing taxpayers more money in the long run. Many of the buildings are close to being paid off.

Also Tuesday, Schwarzenegger issued an executive order renaming the San Francisco Civic Center Complex as the Ronald M. George State Office Complex, after the retiring Supreme Court chief justice.

“I could not think of a more distinct honor to bestow upon Chief Justice George than naming the San Francisco Civic Center Complex after him,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

The Earl Warren Building and Hiram M. Johnson State Office Building, which are part of the civic center, will retain their individual names.

Department of General Services spokesman Eric Lamoureux said a group of private investors trying to buy the properties would be required to keep the name of the buildings.

(© 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. bayArea Guy says:

    Comments not working? I

  2. Taxpayer says:

    Schwarzenegger’s attorneys warned that unless the state can close escrow before the end of the year, “the sale may well disappear forever.” Good I say.

    What’s the big hurry guys? Afraid someone won’t be in a position of power to RAM this deal through?

    A Nobody Major got himself $500K finder fee. Like if these buildings were lost-
    Put a BIG shiny light on this deal and the roaches will flee. Let’s get the names of the PRIVATE investors out in the open. Let the tax payers of Ca see who will be sticking it to them once ownership is transferred to the PRIVATE Investors.

  3. Barbara says:

    These are public buildings and should never be sold, especially for short term profit. What a mistake. Selling off the state to privateers. In the long-run we will pay pay and pay. Does the public have any say in this matter?

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